PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Zoo lost their matriarch orangutan on Sunday.
Duchess was euthanized after suffering from high grade lymphosarcoma, which is an aggressive form of cancer. She was 52 years old.
“Although we are deeply saddened by Duchess’ passing, she long surpassed the number of years that orangutans live in zoos and preserves, as well as in the wild,” said Bert Castro, President and CEO of the Arizona Zoological Society/Phoenix Zoo.
Duchess was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago. She became weak and lethargic during her final few days, but zoo officials made sure that she was as comfortable as possible.
Duchess moved to the Phoenix Zoo just after it opened in 1962. She was the oldest Bornean orangutan in North America, and was one of the zoo’s most popular animals.
Duchess gave birth to seven babies during her life. At the time of her death she was living with her daughter Bess, her granddaughter Kasih, and Bess’ mate, Michael.
A celebration of Duchess’ life will take place at the Phoenix Zoo on Saturday, June 30 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.. To share your memories and thoughts about Duchess visit www.Facebook.com/PhoenixZoo.